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Bio

Sam, Mouzy and Ousco met and started to hone their skills in the streets of Bamako in 2000. The three friends were soon joined by Donsky, a friend from college. Between them, their lust for different types of music - including rap and traditional Malian music, and their desire to give their perspective on the state of affairs and history of the African continent, SMOD was born. But, soon after, the quartet became a trio following the departure of Mouzy, who left Mali in 2001, although despite this the group still keep his name in the SMOD acronym – as a testament to his contribution. The group went on to record their album 'Duni Kuntala', or 'the course of life', and attracted 4000 fans to the Palais de la Culture in Bamako for the launch.

   

 


Since then, the trio tours more and more in Mali, and even performs during official ceremonies of the 2002 ACN. In 2004 they recorded a second release entitled 'TA I TOLA', 'Go on', with contributions from King Massassi and Amadou and Mariam, Sam's parents. It was perched on the terrace – the seventh heaven –of the house of Mali's most famous couple, that they patiently perfected their repertoire; improvising and creating new songs, now with Sam playing the guitar. It was in 2005 that they met Manu Chao, who was then producing Dimanche a Bamako with Amadou and Mariam. “In Mali, people tend to go to sleep early. But every night the band would be up on the roof of the family house playing. As I'm a bit of a sleepwalker, I'd go up there with them and record them for fun." In this way the foundations were laid, these informal encounters in the small hours of the morning. “We realised an album was emerging. It was the start of a new adventure", remembers Manu Chao.  Whilst recording with SMOD he found himself slipping one of their themes, the 'Politic Amagni' (or, bad politics) into Amadou and Mariam's record.The union was forged with an unspoken rule – 'don't bother the men on the terrace.' More precisely, this meant that they must preserve all that promoted their stylistic difference, a semi-traditional, semi-modern sound anchored both in the problems of today as well as those of old. More than a generic rap group, SMOD embodied the emergence of a new scene in Africa, the embracing of new urban sounds but wary of the importance of heritage.  As evidence of this, in 2008 and 2009 one would find the trio in Europe incorporating influences such as Touré Kunda and Sporto Kantes in their music, not to mention Amadou and Mariam – for whom they opened at the Olympia and who Manu Chao invited on his tour in autumn 2009. It was these many diverse experiences that provided them with the reassurance and confidence they needed to survive on the scene, the perfect grounding upon which to develop their new sound in line with the great Mandingue musical traditions past. So how does it all add up? A variety of foreign influences mixed together, worked on in home ground, that one would readily call afro-hop. A hybrid genre of rap and folk with beatbox and simplistic guitar chords. Between the lines, the “African rap'n'folk" - as they call it – makes a link with the secular art of the griot, a pivotal character in a country dominated by oral tradition. At the same time guardian of collective memory and an attentive narrator of current events, the griot takes on the role not dissimilar to that of a rapper in the big city. Each one has careful expertise when it comes to words and rhythm. A similar form of alchemy is at the roots of SMOD, something which drew Manu in from the start and made him decide to produce their album. It was never a question of exaggerated electronic effects, nor a need to add too many elements to the music – which was sufficient enough in itself. One guitar and 3 voices, this is the basic recipe. A good sense of melody and lyricism, a story full of emotion – this is the power behind SMOD, a universe in which Manu's discrete touch adds subtle colour to the trio's talents. “It sings" – to paraphrase one of their compositions, and it also raps - a testament to the many levels of one single reality: Bamako, the capital where tar is scarce, where urbanity presses its allure, where the youth vibe to the sounds of the kora and the n'goni, as well as the rhythms of sounds worldwide. “Hip hop brings us a path of light (...) Malian hip-hop evolves day-by-day!" they sing in the funky Ambola. A veritable hymn to the voice of a generation weary from corruption and organised crime, this title is followed by a melody of melancholic sounds, in remembrance of young women...
Symbolic of their step, the overexcited “J'ai pas peur du micro", a classic song at first sight, a colour of electric guitar, a spare beat and the diseases let out by Keny Arkana. And outstanding track! This is not the only one to alternate instants of calm and moments of wrath. Two sensations which summarize the whole spirit of the town where this is written. Every coin has two sides just like every good record. These two extremes map out the album, without completely encircling the contours of this opus. And if it finishes with “Fitri Waleya", a joyous foretaste spiced with a cluster of chords, it has started with the words addressing the “African rulers": “Talking lots, eating money... the leaders are like this!" A melodic line, a tranquil guitar, an indictment of the injustices suffered by the people, so that the youth raise their heads. “Who will be the judge of Africa the accused?"

 

   

PHOTOS

SMOD
SMOD
SMOD

VIDEOS

Les Jeunes Filles du Maliba
Les Dirigeants Africains
Ca chante

NEWS

more news...

Smod 'Dakan' - Free Download

Smod 'Dakan' - Free Download

'Dakan' is taken from their latest EP 'Les Jeunes Filles Du Maliba'

SMOD 'Les Jeunes Filles Du Maliba' EP !

SMOD 'Les Jeunes Filles Du Maliba' EP !

SMOD comes back with their 3rd single 'Les Jeunes Du Maliba' including brand new remixes !